These past 3 days, Kevin and I have pretty much covered the entire state of California — driving first from LA to Sacramento, then hitting up Lassen National Park and Mt. Shasta. We’re nearly in Oregon! It’s the third day of our four-day journey and need to start heading back South. After all, we have our schnauzer/dachshund dog (Dougie!) waiting for us. Oh, and that little thing called a job.
Below is the route we followed today — another big driving day that would take 6 hours if you drove non-stop. We will visit a winery in Napa that samples everything for free (really, no joke!), hit up the Charles Schulz Museum (aka Snoopy central), see some cool architecture, and grab some homemade ice cream. Sounds like a good day to me. Below is the map to give a sense of everything we’ll cover.
Stop 1: Mt Shasta Slopes and Breakfast
Today we woke up around 7 AM to start the long journey South, but before heading out of town we decided to grab some breakfast at Seven Suns Coffee & Cafe. It’s located right in the middle of town and a lively spot in town with all the bikers, tourists and locals converging. Skip the bagel and order the granola with yogurt. It’s a healthier option but is actually a lot tastier than the bagel.
Stop 2: An Architectural Feat, the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California
About an hour South of Mt. Shasta, you’ll come across Redding with the area’s top tourist site… A bridge that is also a sundial. It’s worth the stop – and just off Route 5, so you won’t have to go out of your way. It is considered an architectural marvel – with a price tag of over $18 million to construct with materials from around the world. The place was packed with families just wandering and chasing their kids. Also nearby is a botanical garden (that we skipped because it was too hot) and a pretty lame famers market (I’m talking like 8 stalls, tops!). But the bridge is no doubt worth a quick stop.
Stop 3: Dog Madness and Free Wine Tastings at Vincent Arroyo Winery in Napa
What an amazing find! Seriously, one of my favorite wineries I’ve visited. Vincent Arroyo is the antithesis of a big Napa winery experience – with the exorbitant tasting fees, tour bus crowd and robotic delivery. First off, I love the dog friendly environment. Their pet black lab was lazing by the cases of wine, with the tasting crackers inside a tin dog bone canister. And then, the tasting experience itself — where we got (at least) 10 different tastings. I don’t know actually since I kind of lost count. They’re known for the Petite Syrah but we loved their Chardonnay and bought a bottle. And most un-Napa like of all — there was no tasting fee. This is a place you need to go (and we need to come back to often!)
Stop 4: A Museum Dedicated to All Things Snoopy in Sonoma County
We headed just 30 minutes West to Santa Rosa. Now Kevin used to work in Santa Rosa back when we lived in San Francisco (and did this commute every day). So you can imagine, he never wanted to go up there on the weekend after all that driving. The Charles Schulz Museum has LONG been on my list of places to see. It is an ode to all things Snoopy and its creator Charles Schulz. Right now, they’re showing a special “Schulz in Washington” exhibition about Schulz’s involvement with various presidential administrations — from NASA adopting Snoopy characters as a safety mascot to the personal letters he wrote to Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton.
Schulz was a conflicted guy from the sounds of it — focused so much on his work (and not so much on his family life). His first wife led the charge to build out the grounds here which included a mini-golf course (no longer there), their beautiful home and an ice skating rink (which still exists and we went inside to watch the Snoopy Zamboni zip around).
Stop 5: Homemade Ice Cream in Petaluma
We worked up an appetite at the Snoopy Museum and made it just in time for some ice cream at the Petaluma Creamery. Located in Petaluma, about 20 minutes South of Santa Rosa, the creamery makes all their ice cream in house. There are also trays upon trays of free samples of cheese (which made this stop worth it alone to Kevin!). I went with the Cherry Chip after sampling, ohhh, I’d say a good 12 different flavors!
Stop 6: A night in San Francisco
We made it to San Francisco! As we drove through the tunnel North of the city, the skies turned cloudy and dark. We knew we were back to our former home as we could hardly see a thing as we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge. We’ll spend the night here, meeting up with friends and hit the road for the last leg of the trip tomorrow. Can’t wait!